Seeds: To Eat or Not to Eat

Seeds play a bigger role in your diet than you may think. Some are considered essential and some you need to stay far away from; see if you know which is which.

  • Exploding Seeds

    Each kernel of popcorn is a seed that contains water and a starchy white substance. When heat is applied, the water turns to steam and the seed bursts, turning itself inside out.

  • Do You Eat These Brown Seeds?

    If you eat chocolate, you do. The seeds of the cacao tree are ground, then processed to create cocoa or chocolate.

  • Beans are Seeds Too

    Whether we're talking pinto beans, lentils or kidney beans, we're talking seeds. How many different varieties of beans can you spot here?

  • Can You Eat Nuts?

    Almonds, walnuts, cashews and other nuts are seeds that are produced by trees. The exception: Peanuts grow underground on annual plants that are members of the bean family. Some people are very allergic to nuts, especially peanuts, and they need to make sure no nuts or nut oils are in the food they eat.

  • Clothed in Seeds

    Seeds are usually inside a fruit, but the typical large strawberry wears more than 300 tiny seeds on the outside.

  • Huge and Hairy

    Each coconut is a seed. In fact, if you live in the Deep South where the coconut palm grows, you could plant a coconut and watch it grow up to be a tree.

  • Tastes a Little Like ...

    The tiny black seeds in kiwi fruits (sometimes called kiwis) are edible. One of the Latin names for this plant is deliciosa. The fruit's flavor has been compared to strawberries, melons and more.

  • A Substitute for Chocolate

    Carob bean pods have a chocolate-like flavor. The seeds are sometimes used to thicken processed foods, but they don't taste very good on their own.

  • Pretty Seed Pods

    Each \"petal\" of the flower-shaped seed pod contains a flavorful seed that's used in teas, baked goods and more.

  • Don't Eat the Seeds

    The old saying \"an apple a day keeps the doctor away\" doesn't apply to the seeds, which contain a small amount of cyanide. Accidentally eating a seed or two probably won't hurt you, but more than that can make you very sick.

  • Wheat

    Do You Eat This?

    If you're not allergic to wheat, you probably eat a lot of it — think pizza, bread, hot dog buns, pasta, cake, cookies, pie, crackers, gravy — the list is endless. Flour is made from grinding the seeds; if you eat whole-grain bread, you're eating the whole seed and not just part of it.

  • Bagel Seeds

    Seeds Inside and Out

    It's not just the sesame, poppy, pumpkin and other seeds that dot the outside of many breads, muffins and bagels. The chief ingredient of bread is flour, which is made from the seeds of grains — usually wheat but also oats, millet and more.

  • Peppercorns

    Grinding a Fruit and Seed

    Peppercorns are the dried fruit of a vine that grows in the tropics, and each peppercorn contains a seed. When you sprinkle pepper on your food, you're sprinkling ground seeds and fruit.

  • Caution: Very Poisonous

    The seeds of the castor bean plant are highly toxic to adults, children, pets and even insects. Unlike what its common name suggests, it's not a member of the bean family, and there's nothing edible about this plant. If you have this plant in your garden, don't let it flower or go to seed.

  • Pass the Butter, Please

    Each corn kernel is a seed that could, before cooking, be planted.

  • Salads and Pickles

    Salads come with a lot of seeds, especially from tomatoes and cucumbers. Most people eat the seeds of both, and if you're eating a pickle, you're most likely also eating some pickled seeds.

  • Hard as a Rock

    The seeds of apricots, peaches and plums are often called stones. We pitch these seeds, but we make cobblers, smoothies and pies out of the sweet fruit.

  • Luscious Treat Without the Seeds

    When you eat watermelon, you don't eat the seeds. Some farmers specialize in growing seedless varieties so we don't have to bother picking out (or spitting out) the seeds.

  • One of the World's Most Popular Flavors

    The vanilla pod holds beans (seeds) that flavor ice cream, pudding, cake and yogurt. Can you think of other seeds you eat?

Advertisement will not be printed